Injured student praises teachers’ heroism during pit bull attack at Willard school playground

21 people were injured from the dog attack
Published: Dec. 21, 2022 at 9:30 PM CST|Updated: Dec. 22, 2022 at 8:00 AM CST
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WILLARD, Mo. (KY3) - Parents and students are praising the heroics of teachers after dogs attacked students and teachers during a recess at the Willard Intermediate School.

The incident happened around midday Tuesday at Willard Intermediate South, located at 630 South Miller Avenue in Springfield. School leaders say the dogs injured 18 students and three teachers. Paramedics treated those injured. The district says six of the victims needed emergency care.

Animal control identified the dogs as two pit bulls and euthanized them after the owners voluntarily handed them over. Investigators say rabies test results were negative. They say one dog was not vaccinated, and the owners couldn’t provide proof for the other one.

A student and her mother called the teachers heroes.

“I saw teachers smacking the dogs with clipboards, kicking them, and just pulling them off this one kid,” said one fifth-grader. “Not all the injuries were from the dogs. Some kids were just pushed around by the flow of the kids trying to get inside.”

The fifth-grader says the real heroes are her teachers and that the situation could’ve ended worse just days before Christmas.

”There is a pregnant teacher that came in defense for our children putting herself in harm’s way,” said Christina Robertson, a Willard parent.

We talked to the Springfield-Greene County Health Department for an update on the investigation involving animal control. Animal control says as far as charges, the case is under investigation, and it would not release the name of the dogs’ owner.

”Our primary concern in any situation like this is the health and safety of our community,” said Cara Erwin with the Springfield-Greene County Health Department.

Erwin wants to use this incident to remind people of responsible dog ownership and the laws in place.

“Make sure that your dogs are up to date on rabies vaccines and make sure that you are aware of their temperament at all times,” said Erwin.

Springfield does require pit bull registration according to a city ordinance. We asked if the two dogs in the Willard attack had been registered and were told that’s still under investigation.

After the scare at the school, the fifth-grader says she’s grateful her teachers put her life before their own.

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